Mo Farah should “run a mile” from Alberto Salazar because of the doping allegations made against his renowned coach, according to the European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey.
A BBC documentary has alleged that Salazar gave the banned steroid testosterone to Farah’s training partner, Galen Rupp, when he was only 16, while several former members of Salazar’s Project Oregon training camp told the programme about other occasions where dubious practices apparently took place.
There is no suggestion Farah is involved but Pavey has warned her British team-mate to be wary of how his relationship with Salazar could be misconstrued. “As an athlete, you don’t want to associate yourself with people that have got accusations and allegations against them,” she said. “I’m not here to accuse anyone but if there was anybody I was slightly associated with that I suddenly realised had these accusations against them – or any of my training partners – I’d run a mile.”
Pavey’s comments were echoed by the British 800m runner Jenny Meadows, the 2011 European indoor champion, who warned Farah to think of his reputation. “He needs to come out and say what’s been happening or hasn’t been happening,” she added. “He needs to reassure us all. Sometimes you are tarred with the same brush.”
Salazar has defended himself against any wrongdoing, saying: “I believe in a clean sport and hard work and so do my athletes.” Rupp, meanwhile, stressed that he was “dedicated to clean sport and have worked extremely hard for every accomplishment in my running career”.
On Thursday night, Craig Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, suggested that the FBI may be interested in investigating the allegations. “I don’t know a great deal about US law,” said Reedie. “But the authorities there certainly started to investigate the Lance Armstrong case, until it was stopped and US anti-doping took over, and it may be a federal investigation is possi ble here.
“The Wada view is that a criminal investigation is entirely appropriate with the trafficking and distribution of illegal performance- enhancing drugs. What we don’t want to do is criminalise athletes.”
Meanwhile the UK anti-doping agency has claimed the athlete’s biological passport is catching cheats, despite a Panorama reporter appearing to beat it after taking small micro-doses of the blood-boosting drug EPO.
“If we have intelligence to suggest that someone is administering a prohibitive substance that has a short detection window, like EPO, then we will modify our testing programme accordingly,” said the Ukad chief executive, Nicole Sapstead. “It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that somebody is micro-dosing will get caught.”
Sapstead also insisted UK anti-doping authorities regularly travel abroad to test British athletes, although she did not want to cite exact figures because it might help cheats evade capture. “We invest a lot of our resources testing athletes internationally,” she added. “Our message is very clear: just because you are not on UK soil doesn’t mean that you are able to go elsewhere and be at liberty to dope. If we have reason to believe you are doping we will find you.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010